Zara Aziz: My brief nostalgia for hospital work

I was recently in Manchester, visiting my parents, and had an opportunity to see the newly built teaching hospital, replacing the building where I did my clinical training.

I was amazed and, I have to say, a tad envious at the spanking new PFI build that it had become.

It was like an airport (I love airports) without the aeroplanes and a far cry from the tired old wards where we roamed as medical students.

Humans are contrary beings - they crave what they do not have. On the drive back to Bristol (which was marred by freakish weather as usual; we hit a pigeon, may he not be RIP), I was struck by a feeling of nostalgia. I missed working in the wards, scrubbing up for theatre and even frequenting the canteen.

The following day at work, I rang my other half (who works as a hospital doctor) to query a vague discharge letter from his ward. It asked the GP to do x,y, z and more.

He sounded rather cryptic on the phone.

'What's with the James Bond replies, where are you?' I asked.

'I am at my desk, of course,' he said.

This made my antennae rise because he works in a lovely new PFI build, which has communal consultant and secretarial offices, resembling a classroom, complete with lockers for personal belongings. There are at least 100 people who have to share this space (not all at once, thankfully).

'Are you sure? It sounds very quiet in the background.' I was not convinced.

'That's because everyone has stopped to listen in on your scintillating conversation, because you are talking rather loudly.'

Needless to say, this killed the conversation and my nostalgia.

Now that I have had a chance to reflect, I have decided that I do not wish to work in a hospital again. I am happy being a GP, even if we are a dying breed.

If I am having a bad day at the practice, at least I can grumble out loud and throw a paperclip or two in the privacy of my own office.

  • Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol.

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